excited dad holding his newborn baby
profile picture of The Editors at Nameberry
The Editors at Nameberry

The 12 Hottest Baby Name Trends for 2019

Precious gems, muted hues and wild animals are about to serve up major baby name inspiration this coming year.

Wondering what the hottest baby names will be for 2019? The editors of Nameberry, the world’s largest website devoted to baby names, pinpointed the 12 biggest trends for the coming year, from where people are finding inspiration to specific sounds parents are loving. Read on for their top baby name predictions.

Hottest Big Picture Trend: Global Names

As the world gets smaller, the pool of names becomes larger, with new baby names from ever more diverse origins entering the global lexicon. At Nameberry, we’ve added thousands of new names from around the world: Maori names and Xhosa names, ancient Greek names and South American Indian names, Korean names and Israeli names. With the appetite for unique, meaningful names constantly expanding, parents are looking for original choices with deep roots.

Examples of global baby names

  • Acacius
  • Aroha
  • Cyrene
  • Jedda
  • Kiran
  • Lautaro
  • Lior
  • Niabi
  • Sena
  • Walken

Newest Genderbend: Non-binary Names

Parents who want to raise their children free of gender stereotypes are looking for names that are truly gender-neutral. That means no names that end in “son,” like Madison, or those that were originally boy or girl names and have migrated to the other side, such as Charlie. And if the names also evidence a gender-free ideal, such as Justice, all the better.

Examples of non-binary baby names

  • Briar
  • Campbell
  • Finley
  • Journey
  • Justice
  • Laken
  • Revel
  • Robin
  • Royal
  • Story

Hottest Direction in Baby Naming: East

Names related to Eastern religions and non-European mythology have replaced Biblical and saints’ names as spiritual favorites. The mainstreaming of yoga, meditation and non-traditional spiritualism underpins the trend, along with a search for meaning that transcends the name’s surface qualities like style and sound.

Examples of Eastern baby names

  • Asherah
  • Bodhi
  • Kali
  • Lakshmi
  • Manu
  • Osiris
  • Raiden
  • Rama
  • Tanith
  • Zen

Coolest New Color Names: Muted Hues

All color-based baby names are, well, colorful, but we’re beginning to see a shift in tone as vibrant shades like Scarlett, Ruby and Poppy are giving way to softer pastels. Grey/Gray is starting to replace Blue as a first and middle color name du jour, while popular Violet has been joined by other vintage pale purplish hues. Another prediction: More Crayola names for boys.

Examples of muted hue-based baby names

  • Ash
  • Fawn
  • Grey/Gray
  • Ivory
  • Lavender
  • Lilac
  • Mauve
  • Moss
  • Olive
  • Sage

Richest New Nature Names: Rare Gems

For a long time, the most popular jewel names have been those usually assigned to girls, like Ruby, Pearl and Amber—all of which came into favor at the turn of the last century, along with flower and other nature names. But one of the most interesting new areas to be mined is the more unusual gem names, which can be used for girls or boys, or sometimes both.

Examples of gem-inspired baby names

  • Amethyst
  • Emerald
  • Garnet
  • Jasper
  • Jet
  • Onyx
  • Opal
  • Peridot
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz

Latest Vintage Trend: Old-School Nickname Names for Boys

We’re seeing charming vintage boy nickname names like Archie, Alfie and Freddie beginning to join their sisters Millie, Maisie and Josie. But more surprising to us is the nascent revival of early 20th century faves like Johnny, Jimmy and Billy on birth certificates—names that once were confined to comic strips and old radio and TV shows. Even more startling is the reappearance of some generic appellations now appealing to the hipster sensibilities of celebs and others.

Examples of old-school boy nicknames

  • Ace
  • Billy
  • Buddy
  • Buster
  • Hank
  • Ike
  • Jimmy
  • Johnny
  • Sonny
  • Spike

Most Fashionable Consonant: F

For a letter that had been sitting quietly in the shadows for decades, F has suddenly rocketed forward, particularly for boy names (and especially for those of Irish descent). And then there’s the whole Family Fran, which started to take off after the election of Pope Francis and led to the revival of several surprising half-forgotten Fran names.

Examples of baby names starting with F

  • Faye
  • Felix
  • Fern
  • Finnian
  • Flora
  • Florian
  • Frances
  • Frankie
  • Frederick
  • Frost

Coolest Vowel: U

U finally gets its turn in the spotlight in 2019. As a first initial, U is the least-used letter of the alphabet, and it hasn’t featured in any major baby name trends in….forever. But now U (and its “oo” sound) is cropping up in many newly stylish names. Is it the influence of little Prince Louis? His unexpected name may have simply upshifted the trend to major.

Examples of baby names with U

  • Eulalie
  • Hugo
  • Jude
  • Juniper
  • Louise
  • Luca
  • Luna
  • Reuben
  • Tallulah
  • True

Trendiest Name Length: Three letters

Four letters might be a marker of name popularity, a la the chart’s #1 leaders, Emma and Liam, but minimalist three-letter names are the sleek, sweet names of the future.

Examples of three-letter baby names

  • Hal
  • Ida
  • Jem
  • Kit
  • Koa
  • Liv
  • Lux
  • Rex
  • Rio
  • Van

Wildest Middle Name Trend: Animalia

Parents who want to add a touch of fierceness or individuality to more conventional first name choices are turning to the animal kingdom for the wild vibe. As with many other trends, celebs have led the way. Case in point: The number of recent starbabies bearing Bear as their middle name.

Examples of animal-themed baby names

  • Bear
  • Falcon
  • Fox
  • Hawk
  • Koala
  • Lion
  • Lynx
  • Otter
  • Tiger
  • Wolf

Trendiest Trend: Celebrity Surname Names

Celebrities have influenced baby names since the days of Shirley Temple, and names that have traditionally been used as last names, such as Morgan and Carter, have been rising since the conservative 1980s. Now those two trends have combined into one megatrend: Celebrity surnames for baby girls and boys. Goodbye, Shirley; hello, Temple.

Examples of last names as baby names

  • Beckham
  • Bowie
  • Ellington
  • Hendrix
  • Jolie
  • Ledger
  • Lennon
  • Lennox
  • Monroe
  • Wilder

Trend Ready to Jump the Shark: Em- Names

Baby names are about to become all Emmed-out in 2019. Emily ranked in the top 25 baby names for 35 years, and in the #1 spot for 12 of them. Then came Emma, which has been in the top 25 since 1998 and still reigns in first place, and a number of dueling Em-names followed in its wake. But change is coming. We predict parents will reach the consensus that enough is enough.

Examples of baby names starting with Em

  • Ember
  • Emerson
  • Emery
  • Emilia
  • Emily
  • Emma
  • Emme
  • Emmeline
  • Emmett
  • Emmy

Nameberry is the world’s largest baby name site, created by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, name experts and coauthors of ten bestselling books about names.

Published December 2018

Plus, more from The Bump:

Photo: iStock